Hell's Angels is a 1930 American epicwar film, directed and produced by Howard Hughes and starring Ben Lyon, James Hall and Jean Harlow. The film, which was written by Harry Behn and Howard Estabrook, centers on the combat pilots of World War I. The picture was released by United Artists and, despite its initial poor performance at the box office, eventually earned its production costs twice over.Controversy during the Hell's Angels
production contributed to the film's notoriety, including the
accidental deaths of several pilots, an inflated budget, a lawsuit
against a competitor (The Dawn Patrol), and repeated postponements of the release date.
Originally shot as a silent film,
Hughes retooled the film over a lengthy gestation period. Most of the
film is in black and white, but there is one color sequence—the only
color footage of Harlow's career. Hell's Angels is now hailed as one of the first sound blockbuster action films.